The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Two more teaching days until vacation!

I am apparently a mean teacher for making my students come until Friday, but that’s the best way I found to then take two whole weeks off. And, hey, everybody agreed! I don’t actually think I’m mean, because violin lessons are pretty fun, and I have chocolate to give out.

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I love this time of year. All the decorations, the anticipation, the candy and baked goods…I also love holiday music, and all that goes with it.

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I have been feeling tired and overwhelmed more often than I’d like this semester. I know I’ve been working a lot, but it’s what I both need and want to do. It’s hard, because other things go by the wayside. Friendships are a bit harder to keep up on, unless it’s friends I also work with, and household tasks are hard as well. This week I’ve been relaxing on the practicing front and finishing up at my colleges (I’m DONE with the semester on both of those jobs) so I have a bit more time for other things. I’ve also been wrapping gifts, finishing my shopping, and getting ready to go out of town next week.

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I’ve been contemplating growing old and my mortality as well. Not to be THAT guy…my extended family has had a tough time as we lost my uncle Sam in August and my uncle Gordon recently. My heart goes out to my aunts and cousins and everybody, and I’ve been thinking quite a lot about life goals and future goals and aging and all of that. I don’t have answers, but I do have a lot of thoughts, and want to make sure that I’m doing what I want to do with my life and not simply going through the motions and doing what other people think is best. (And I’m sad, it comes in flashes, even if I pretend I’m not.)

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It’s hard, because I haven’t made that a huge priority. I often do what comes up, I do what people want me to do, or what’s expected. And while none of those things are bad, I haven’t asked myself lately, what exactly do I want? I read an article recently where the author was asking musicians to outline their 20 year career plans…and then you work backward from there. I’ve been spending a little time thinking about where I want to be in 20 years, and I haven’t solidified anything. There’s a bit of “being afraid” to dream, but there’s mostly, not being sure where this freelance/teaching thing GOES because I never expected it to turn into my full time career, even though all the decisions I made were heading that way.

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The thing is, I’m quite good at this. I enjoy juggling my schedule, and I like the mild uncertainty—it occasionally stresses me out, but mostly I like the different things I do, I like feeling like I’m spread out so no one thing is that important and I like putting it all together and planning.

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I just need a few more hours in the day. I have students on my waiting list that I need to squeeze in, and there are always more concerts and shows to play! I’m working on getting better at the viola too, and thinking after the holidays I’m going to start a #100daysofpractice with it to really push myself.

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But until then! I’m taking it easy after Christmas Eve, for two weeks. I won’t actually go that whole time without working as I’ll have some scheduling to do, and some practicing, but mostly it will be relaxing downtime, oh, and maybe doing some home projects. I want to declutter the kitchen a bit and clean up some other spaces, and do some planning for spring teaching stuff that got squeezed out (festival, recital?). Perhaps my real 20 year plan is to figure out how to keep this going for 20 years, and then retire. (Here’s a link to the article I mentioned, which actually goes into some good specifics, and makes me think that really I also ought to write me, as that’s another thing I both enjoy and am relatively good at!)

If I don’t talk to you again beforehand, Merry Christmas to you, if you celebrate! If not, Happy Holidays to you, and Happy whatever you celebrate, and Happy New Year, and all of that! And maybe I’ll pop in again soon…

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